Joe Glevenyak, who plays in right field, has struggled offensively, as has much of the Herd lineup has early in the season. MU's team batting average was only .289 coming into the game Friday, but Marshall (9-10) clubbed the Viking pitching for 11 hits, five for extra-bases, and eight runs, six of which came in the decisive fifth inning. "Finally, I had a good day. It was one of those days when you are really seeing the ball," said Glevenyak. "I've struggled, but you have to believe in yourself and your teammates. Everyone on this team believes we can turn this program around.
"There are lots of best friends on this team," said Glevenyak, "and nine seniors. We are definitely improved and the pitching is as good as we have ever had." Glevenyak, who raised his average to .273 with the 3-for-4 day, picked up his second (to right), third (to left) and fourth (to center field) doubles of the year in his first three at bats and drove in four runs, giving him 10 runs-batted-in for the season. He is now the fourth Herd player with double figure RBI totals. Adam Frederick (.386) leads the Herd in batting and RBIs with 18, followed by Francois Larmore (.357) with 17
Pittsburgh freshman Brian Cashman was looking to improve to 3-0, but gave up two unearned runs to Horizon League member Cleveland State (1-6) in the third. After walking the leadoff hitter in the fourth, Piepenbrink called for relief pitcher Steve Ziroli, who faced only 12 hitters in three innings of work to get the win and even his record at 1-1. Ziroli gave up only one hit, two walks and struck out four batters, including all three hitters in the fifth inning.
Inspired by the 1-2-3 inning, the Herd bats got hot in the bottom of the fifth. Centerfielder Chris Monaco led off with a hit and quickly picked up his Mid-American Conference leading 17th steal of the year (in 20 attempts). Marshall Murray and Frederick were walked, then Larmore lifted a sacrifice fly to left to give MU a 3-2 lead. Another walk to designated hitter Corie O'Bryan filled the bases before Glevenyak's third double of the game cleared the bases and gave MU a lead that was never threatened. Shortstop Mike Koitsopoulos added an RBI single to round out the Herd at eight runs.
"Well, you score eight runs, you should win the game," said Piepenbrink. "We have got to work on little things, however. We struck out twice with one out and a runner on third...you have to put the ball in play there. We did swing the bats pretty well with two outs and that's encouraging." Piepenbrink was glad to see the third outfielder spot begin to heat up with Glevenyak's big day. "Defensively, Joe is very good and is maybe our best arm in the outfield. We have tried him and Brad Helm to get a third guy going, besides our other outfielders in Larmore and Monaco (hitting .311). If it's Joe, so if he gets going hitting-wise, great!"
Marshall Baseball will play games two and three on Saturday and Sunday against Cleveland State at University Heights, located on Norway Avenue between the new Wal-Mart and the Cabell County Vocational-Technical School. Both day's game start at 1:00 p.m.
In other news from MU Olympic Sports on Friday, Marshall Softball won the opener in the Hokie Invitational at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. MU beat former Southern Conference foe East Tennessee State, 2-0. Swimmer Milla Kuurto finished 29th of 45 in the 100 meter butterfly at the NCAA Swimming Championships at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. She will swim the 200 meter butterfly on Saturday. Marshall Tennis defeated Richmond 4-3 to earn its 10th win against only three losses on the season. Marshall is home Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the Henderson Center Courts for a big MAC matchup with the Eagles of Eastern Michigan.